Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Out of this World

This morning I was reminded of reports of UFO sightings. I wonder why people describe such things unidentified flying objects? The main question that I'm thinking about as it relates to this, is how we as a culture deal with what we can't define.

While the lack of strict definitions for all that we see allows some people to explore infinite positive possibilities, others will look at what they don't understand and be bound by the fear of all the negative potential that this could be mean.

The difference in how we see things DOES influence how we view people and no one can afford to fear the people in their lives that think and act in ways that are unfamiliar.

The closer (geographically) we are to these people and the more responsibility we have or assume for them, makes our view of them even more important.

Being close to people IS a commitment rather than it requires one. We don't have to want to be commited - we just get to be. What one doesn't decide will be decided for them. Our choices about how we view people will define how we treat them. This will influence how they see themselves and how they expect others to treat them. These personal decisions have an influence on our culture.

Too often we look at what is wrong with people, how severe we see this wrongness as it relates to how we see the severity of this wrongness in others, or even where the wrongness originated. Seeing ambivalent behavior as wrong can be used to distance ourselves from that effort and responsibility that is required to relate to people. It starts in the home and ultimately becomes a part of our culture. Our culture cannot afford this and no one can personally afford it. The price is paid by both the viewer and the viewed.

What I'm writing about here doesn't just relate to just one type of person that is viewed as being in need of fixing, one type of person that seen as flawed, or one age group of people. This ultimately includes everyone and affects everyone.

Autistic people are being attacked in various ways and there is a power base that has a lot of influence on how we are seen. Not everyone who makes unfair judgments or treats people unfairly does so consciously. In fact, I believe that most people who do this have not really thought it through or are too bound by their emotions to choose a better way of responding to us.

To those of you who have autistic people in your lives, I would like to remind you that we are not aliens. We are available in ways that you may not have thought of or may not have explored. We need you just like you need us and neither of us afford to forget it.


At 10:01 AM , Blogger abfh said...

no one can afford to fear the people in their lives that think and act in ways that are unfamiliar.

I believe this fear goes back to prehistory, when people couldn't afford NOT to fear those from unfamiliar tribes, who might turn out to be hostile. Fearing the unfamiliar seems to be hard-wired in many people's brains.

I agree that most people who make unfair judgments based on lack of familiarity are reacting based on their emotions and have not thought it through. As they learn more about autistics (and other misunderstood minority groups) they become less prejudiced.

At 11:16 AM , Blogger Casdok said...

Great post Ed!

At 11:33 AM , Blogger Ed said...

I hope negative emotions aren't hardwired into too many people's brains. Believing that seems as though it would ensure a terrible end to the human race and soon. If fear is what we are taught then we can be taught better ways of responding.

If we are taught that those who are unfamiliar are more likely to be hostile, then yes, we would need to be ready to respond. But people who who are taking unfair and conveinient advantage, instinctively know that it will lead to the destruction of our planet.

Most people who are prejudging and mistreating minority groups are not unprepared or ill-equiped to protect themselves. They are taking unfair advantage of those whom they see as more vulnerable and/or are more conveinient to avoid but in no way will acting this way insure their safety or their survival.

At 11:34 AM , Blogger Ed said...

Thanks Casdok.


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